As I told you in last week’s column, I have a lactose intolerance problem. I’m also female, however, and, as you are probably aware, women love ice cream. That means, yes, even though I know I shouldn’t eat it, I sometimes do. Usually it’s after I’ve consumed enough alcohol to render my brain dysfunctional, when I make unwise decisions. I tell my friends to keep me away from it, but as they are well aware, I never listen to their protests. They’re used to my, “Hey, I’ve got a great idea… let’s get ice cream!” exclamations, which turn out to be not such a great idea a few hours later, or indeed the next morning.
Anyway, I figured this week’s column should focus on a summer food and indeed, an essential to keep cool: ice cream. I am more than qualified to give you the low-down on a few of the icy treats available from konbini [コンビニ] and I know that my readers will appreciate the stomachaches I have suffered for their sake.
I’ll start with a very Japanese flavour: matcha [抹茶] or powdered green tea. The Haagen-Dazs brand is the perfect blend of sweet and bitter and is oh so thick and creamy. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh yeahhhhhhhh… It’s also THE number one hands-down-no-comparison best matcha flavoured ice cream in the entire country. I will not listen to anyone else’s opinion on this one (covering ears, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, I can’t hear you!) CASE CLOSED!
As a point of interest, the small serving size of Haagen-Dazs does nothing to upset my system, but as I’m a big guts and the kind of person who goes all out when doing anything, I prefer the gigantic plain vanilla Suupaa Kappu [スーパーカップ] or Super Cup from Meiji, the brand of all things sweet and lovely. Yes, the vanilla is just the kind you’ve always dreamt of eating and, after consuming this much milky goodness (or badness), a killer for my poor digestive system. But oh, so worth it… mmmmmmmmmmm. This is without a doubt, my favourite of favourites.
If you prefer a more traditional style of ice cream (aka a cone), then each respective konbini own brand cone is the one for you. They generally come in two flavours: vanilla, and chocolate and vanilla and is more like a soft cream style. For me, the best part of the whole thing is the waffle cone.
Of course, the Coolish squeeze pack ice cream is designed for those messy eaters who spill ice cream everywhere. It’s perfect for summer because it eliminates any of those troublesome drips you are guaranteed to get whilst eating during this season.
My only issue with Coolish is that you’re unable to squeeze every last drop of ice cream out… short of cutting it open and running your finger along the inside or even better, licking it straight from the pack. Not that I’ve done that… oh who am I kidding?! Of COURSE I have.
One of the standard favourites of folks everywhere is the Morinaga’s Pino. These sweet morsels of vanilla ice cream are encased in a thin layer of crispy milk chocolate that melts in your mouth.
Pino come with a little stick to stab into them so you can eat daintily, but since I’m no lady, I have no issue picking them up with my fingers. Judge me, I don’t care. The two common flavours are vanilla and chocolate, but according to a friend they did release some blueberry or berry flavoured ones for Christmas. Apparently we tried them but I don’t remember because of a tad too much Christmas cheer… Again, no judging please.
Now of course, all of the above ice creams are milky, but there are plenty of non-milky options, or fruit-inspired gelato-type ones to choose from if you so desire. If you’re lactose intolerant like me, it’s also the best way to ensure that you can still join in the fun of ‘ice cream,’ without the misery.
One of the most famous and loved by kiddies and adults alike is Gari-Gari Kun [ガリガリ君]. This comes in various flavours but the ソーダ or soda one is definitely the first one you should try.
Depending on which konbini you go to, there are also options for shaved-ice style treats and of course, there are the ‘healthy’ (I’m trying to convince myself here!) ones that include pieces of real fruit. And lots of sugar I’m sure, but if you don’t read the label, you’ll never know. Ignorance is bliss my friends, ignorance is bliss.
Well, I hope I’d given you a taste for ice cream and a reason to celebrate the season, so get out there, be adventurous and cool down with a tasty bite to eat. Enjoy!